Recorded July 4, 1969 at the Garden State Arts Center, an amphitheater in Homdel, New Jersey.
While this album may seem a little out of place on this blog, read the memory below and you'll see why it's a part of my collection. Allmusic sums it up correctly:
this album is a good representation of Glen Campbell's music of the period, but perhaps not his usual live sound, complete with an orchestral accompaniment (conducted by Al DeLory), as well as a group of top L.A. session musicians who would normally not go on tour. Campbell himself was satisfied with the album, which contains most of his best-known numbers up to that point in his career (augmented by numbers like "The Impossible Dream" and "The Lord's Prayer"), done in a smooth, slickly professional fashion.Campbell, then in his early thirties, sounds fantastic on both guitar and vocals. He has a much better range than I remember. Here he's in full-on Vegas entertainer mode, complete with snappy patter and jokes between songs, and the crowd eats it up. An enjoyable show with plenty of variety. The CD release sounds great and has great liner notes thanks to the folks over at Beat Goes On Records.
Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #13
Tracks: 18 tracks over 64 minutes. There's something for everybody here - in addition to a few country numbers, we're treated to show tunes (Somewhere, The Impossible Dream), R&B (Sittin' On The Dock Of The Bay, For Once In My Life), novelty (Yakity Sax, You All Come), gospel (The Lord's Prayer) and, of course, Jimmy Webb pop. My favorite is the novelty song White Lightning, but it's far from the best. Choice tracks here are Dreams Of The Everyday Housewife, Sittin' On The Dock Of The Bay, Gentle On My Mind, Where's The Playground Susie?, and By The Time I Get To Phoenix. One wonders why hit songs Galveston and Wichita Lineman weren't included.
Personal Memory Associated with this CD: There wasn't much recorded music played around the house when I was very young (until I discovered Top 40 radio, that is). My father had a decent component system but was rarely home to use it, while my mother normally preferred the quiet as she went about her daily chores. I had some children's records (Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers, Disney movie soundtracks) and I'd sometimes play them on a cheap, plastic, toy turntable, but most of the time I was running around outside anyway. My father's system included a nice Sony reel-to-reel tape player similar to this one:
Occasionally, my mother would ask my father to put on some music before he left the house and a tape of this Glen Campbell album was most often the selection. Getting the tape through the spools and playing was an involved process, but I think my father liked the idea that he could play a 2 album set without having to change and flip records. In any case, this album is one of my earliest music memories.
Earlier, I mentioned that White Lightning is my favorite track. That might be because it was the second track on the tape so I always heard it before being distracted by G.I. Joe or Billy Blastoff and returning to my room. I had no idea what White Lightning was about - a 4 or 5 year old preacher's kid has no frame of reference for moonshine. Heck, I thought Campbell was singing "Mmmm, I like it!" instead of "Mmmm, white lightning!"
This album was out-of-print for many, many years and that tape player is long gone. However, the album was remastered and released on CD in 2008. I found a copy a few years after it was released and bought it for my mother. I took it to her and we sat and listened to it together; she didn't share the same memories as I did but that was okay, it was time very well-spent. My mother passed away earlier this year and, without asking anyone, I recently grabbed this CD and brought it, along with its wonderful memories, back to my own collection.